The Irish Takeover: How Ireland Became a Force in Global Entertainment

Everyone loves the Irish. That’s a phrase you’ve probably heard once or twice in your life, and, to some extent, it’s true. Irish culture has crossed continents to the point where people in countries as far-flung as the US and Australia feel connected to the diminutive island. This love for the Emerald Isle has allowed Irish culture to permeate almost every aspect of the entertainment industry.

Luck of the Irish

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Perhaps the most obvious example of Ireland influencing the creative process is gambling. Four-leaf clovers have long been associated with luck, but Ireland’s ties with the gambling industry aren’t based on foliage alone. Rainbow Jackpots slots, for example, are filled with Irish iconography, including pots of gold and Leprechauns. Visually, these images are engaging. However, there’s something deeper going on here.

Ireland has a certain charm that people are drawn to. So, while people may be tempted to play Rainbow Jackpots because of its bonus features and progressive jackpot, it also has a welcoming look. This look taps into the entertainment aspect of casino gaming. Indeed, beyond the payout potential of a casino game such as Rainbow Jackpots, people play because they want to have fun. The common perception of Irish culture is that it’s fun, i.e., it’s all about the craic. Therefore, when developers create an Irish-themed game, they’re doing it because it creates a sense of that.

Irish Eyes Smile and Voices Entertain

Then, of course, there are connections between Ireland and horse racing. Although sports betting and casino gaming are separate activities, they all fall under the gambling banner. This means Irish imagery doesn’t look out of place in a casino game. Compare that with French or German imagery, for example, and you can see why Ireland seems like a more natural fit. This charm and sense of fun carry over into other parts of the entertainment industry. Cillian Murphy is currently a darling of Hollywood.

Even more interestingly, Irish films received 14 Oscar nominations in 2023. Banshees of Inisherin, starring Kerry Condon, Colin Farrell, Barry Keoghan, and Brendan Gleeson, was the standout hit (see video above). Also making waves was Colm Bairéad’s An Cailín Ciúin, which became the first Irish language film to be nominated for an Oscar. From movies to music, the haunting vocals of Irish singers have been regaling audiences for decades.

U2 often gets the most attention when it comes to Irish musical exports, but there are countless maestros when it comes to singing and songwriting. From Enya and Sinéad O’Connor to the Cranberries, Van Morrison, and Hozier, the list is almost endless. The same can be said for Irish sporting talent. Boxers, MMA fighters like Conor McGregor, and rugby players all punch well above their weight. All of these people embody the spirit of Ireland, and people around the world love it, but why?

A Desire to Travel Has Made Ireland Great

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Irish emigration is a major reason for the expansion of Irish culture. Speaking to the Irish Times, Emily Mark-Fitzgerald, associate professor of art history and cultural policy at UCD, said that Ireland has always been a “fluid place for creative talent.” As a small island, people are often forced to move overseas to broaden their appeal. This, combined with historical emigration, has shown the world what Ireland is all about.

What also can’t be discounted is the famous Irish charm. The Irish lilt makes it sound as though people are singing when they’re talking. The confidence Irish people have in social situations, and their way with words make them more endearing. Of course, these are sweeping generalizations, but the evidence is clear. Go to a bar on St. Patrick’s Day, regardless of the country you’re in, and you’ll probably see people celebrating with a punt of Guinness. Add this to the many ways Irish culture has made an impact on the entertainment industry, and you can see why Ireland is the world’s favorite country.

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